Asa Diggs Trolliness

Asa Diggs Trolliness

I got a chuckle after seeing this, so I felt it was necessary to make a screenshot. The proximity of the two is something that’s pretty rare. Not often will someone digg their own “trolliness”.

On a more serious note, good article with Blake.

Somewhat off topic: I’ve got to make a point to using a Mac to make screenshots. They look so much better than when it’s done in Windows. The text can’t be beat. Does anyone else see the difference? This one was done with Safari. I should try with Camino and Firefox and see what type of a difference there is between them when comparing.


In The Pipes

I’ve got a couple of larger (more research/data) style blog posts in the works here. I’m hoping to post them shortly, once I get a chance to finish them. I’ve got to get a new schedule for posting around here. It’s happening more in bursts than I like.

Around The Web In The News

40 Years For A Malware

A teacher could get 40 years for Malware (which IMHO is nothing more than a variation of “Virus”). That sounds like a harsh sentence.

Even more reason to scan your computer regularly, and keep anti-virus and anti-spyware definitions up to date, but 40 years? Yikes.

For anyone interested, Sunbelt’s Blog is fantastic, and I’ve blogged about it a few times. It has a great approach to explaining and demonstrating IT security in an easy to read, non-pushy manner. Not many places you will see that. Most focus on general tech, and don’t touch security. Security is a fascinating field.

During a quick email exchange with Sunbelt’s Alex Eckelberry he pointed me to this comment which gives a little more info. Expect more from Sunbelt’s Blog tomorrow on this.

Blogging in IT and software development in general is really quite impressive. Only a few years ago the concept of transparency and open communication on this scale was virtually non-existent. Now Alex blogged, commented about Preston Gralla’s poor research behind his post and got a reply. I then emailed Alex about an unrelated topic (choosing passwords in the WeeklyTechTips post), happened to mentioned this topic, and he pointed me to a comment of his on Preston Gralla’s blog.

I have a book on my shelf “How The Internet Works” (Fourth Edition), which I got for a school project back in High School (great book by the way). Would I have imagined the above chain of events when I got that book? Not in a million years. A few years ago this would have been a small article on a tech news site, and nothing more. Two people whose writing I read, going back and forth, and having a chance to contact one of them and get a reply a minute later is really remarkable by those standards. By today’s standards it’s somewhat more normal (though still appreciated).

The blogging phenomenon definitely made IT more transparent. I become more convinced of this on a daily basis.

By the way it looks like Mr. Gralla’s now up to “How The Internet Works Eighth Edition“. I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a cool book.

Around The Web Internet Security

PayPal Security Enhancement

For $5 you will be able to get a little better security with a PayPal SecurID. That’s not a bad idea. I very rarely use PayPal (mainly when some sort of discount/promotion is available), but I’d still get one, just for the added safety.

I wish banks would hurry up and make it standard across the board. A good password is still important, but two-factor authentication like this is a big step in defeating Phishing.

Apple Politics Software

SOX Tax for Upgrades?

A very interesting piece by iLounge is creating a little buzz today. Hopefully in the next few weeks it will become clear if this is really true, or just FUD. Given my development background, and business education (especially going to school post-Enron) this was particularly interesting.

Most software and hardware products these days are updated after release through software updates to enable features that either weren’t reliable enough to be turned on when released, or weren’t possible (waiting for standardization, licensing, testing, certification, etc.). It’s not at all uncommon.

It’s no secret Apple has been shipping computers for several months with 802.11g/n cards, but calling them 802.11g. Presumably all it takes is a firmware upgrade, and it’s ready to go. Now it appears that because of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) [pdf], they are required to charge a small fee to enable the feature because:

…supposedly prohibits Apple from giving away an unadvertised new feature for one of its products.

The logic in a way makes sense, but this raises a lot of business ethics. If an update enables added security (such as changing a default in a software firewall), does the software developer need to charge an upgrade fee according to US law? What about when Microsoft added support for WPA2? Presumably at least some of the buts utilized were in Windows prior to that update.

Here is an even more twisted example: Starting this spring with the new Energy Policy Act of 2005 in effect. Daylight Savings Time has changed. It starts earlier and ends later. For accounting and legal purposes you must correctly date your records, for example in Quicken/Quickbooks, or even timestamp on email could also be important. Does Microsoft need to charge for this upgrade to comply with SOX? Remember, this patch isn’t a bug “fix” since nothing was “broken” (the functionality was correct). This patch adds support for the new Daylight Savings Time. Hence it’s technically a [boring] feature to an existing product (Windows). Just like enabling 802.11n.

But what about Nintendo Wii or Playstation III which will presumably be getting firmware updates along the way to enable new features. I’m pretty sure Sony would be bound by the same laws. Not sure about Nintendo since it’s traded on the Nikkei Stock Exchange.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. I hope the Apple lawyers messed things up here and really misinterpreted the law. Since this is pretty messed up. I have a good feeling we’ll be learning more about this in the upcoming weeks.

Update [01/19/2007]: It’s Apple speaks: It’s $1.99.

Update [01/20/2007]: It’s not SOX, it’s GAAP causing the issue. CNet discusses.

Around The Web Audio/Video

Original Star Wars Trailer

Star Wars Trailer

This is the original Star Wars Trailer. Interesting to see and contrast against the modern trailers. Interestingly it was back in 1999 that most of us saw our first movie trailer online (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace) hosted by Apple in QuickTime. Now several years later the predecessor (age wise, not plot wise) is on YouTube. Who among us would have conceived that in 1999?

[Via: A Welsh View]

Edit: Removed by YouTube.

Software Web Development

MySQL bustage

So my dev instance of MySQL crashed with some InnoDB corruption (as in service won’t even start). Still no idea exactly what caused it, but I don’t really care. The only database using InnoDB wasn’t anything I actually used, just junk that should have been cleaned up anyway. The downside is that I couldn’t even get MySQL running. So here was my repair technique once I realized there wasn’t an ‘easy button’:

First always have a backup of your data. Just in case you screw up your repair attempt.

I deleted the directory containing the tables for the database I knew to be fubar‘d. And restarted MySQL not as a service but as a app using:

mysqld-nt.exe --verbose

Yes! It’s alive. Kinda. Still giving some errors, due to it’s inability to find tables (due to me deleting the corrupt database), and other related garbage. I don’t really care, I just want to fix the ones I do care about.

So next I make a dump of the entire server:

mysqldump --all-databases -u root -p > database.sql

Enter root password at the prompt. Sit back, relax, and hope things go well. It’s slow.

Now I decided to completely uninstall MySQL (and delete the data directory) and reinstall the latest version. Why not get the latest patched version? Lean, mean and up to date.

Now to get my data back

mysql --u root -p < database.sql

Again enter root password, sit back and relax. A few minutes later the process is done. Restart MySQL and all looks good.

This isn’t the only way around things, and may not even be the best, but it’s worked for me.

Apple Web Development

Safari On The iPhone

There is a message on the Surfin’ Safari blog about the new iPhone, but it doesn’t say as much as I had hoped it would. I want to know the following as a developer:

  • How close is Safari on Mac OS X 10.4 to how the iPhone renders? Are they the same version of WebKit or a fork? How can developers test without an actual phone? Is any Mac with Safari a good method? For the Blackberry we have the simulators. How does it differ?
  • What if any plugin support exists? Does it support QuickTime? Flash? Acrobat (or Can it handle attachments? Can users download third party plugins? Or are they limited to capabilities of the phone as it ships (or through official software updates)?
  • What will the UserAgent be? Will it be the same as desktop Safari?

The phone is touted as pretty much a full browser, and Safari is up to the task. But I wonder how well it handles rich media through plugins. From the Google Maps demo, I think it’s safe to say xmlHttpRequest is supported.

I’d really like to see some documentation on how webmasters can prepare and ensure an optimal experience on this new device. Ideally it would be given in advance so one could ensure the best experience possible.


Intimidated By Fire?

Is it just me? Or is someone intimidated by Firebug? Taking a look at the latest IE Developer Toolbar I can’t help but notice the striking similarities to Firebug. It’s not a carbon copy, but there’s a lot of things in there that seem to imitate Firebug.

Regardless of inspiration it’s good for developers who have yet another way to view how their code is interpreted by the browser.

Now how about some decent errors messages to aid in debugging JavaScript?

Apple Hardware

Post MacWorld SF Observations

My predictions, like many others were mostly off. So here’s my observations of todays festivities and announcements.